British singer and producer GAIKA makes music that he calls "ghetto futurism," an often darkly warped mash-up of dancehall, hip-hop, grunge and industrial sounds. After establishing himself as a fresh new voice in London's music scene with EPs MACHINE, SECURITY and SPAGHETTO, he's now back with his debut full-length, BASIC VOLUME, out now. In a new interview with Highsnobiety, GAIKA spoke on his new project, which he says was inspired by his time on the road, influencing the record's place-less and more polished sound.
"I think the whole point of it is about not really being in any place," GAIKA said to Highsnobiety. "In the last two years I was traveling a lot, so I decided to make a record which feels like a journey. I was a lot on planes, so I wanted to make these crystalline sounds, because that would be what I’d look out of the window and see every other day...so it does feel a bit shinier, and there is more melody. In some ways, BASIC VOLUME is less terrifying, and a bit more subversive.”
The record's name is taken from a company GAIKA's late father owned, he added, and that the project touches on themes of belonging, and being an outsider in a country one is supposed to call home. "I’m black, and Britain is not a black country, so you only feel as much at home, and as welcome as you’re made," he said. "At times I certainly didn’t feel welcome, and I certainly didn’t feel a hundred percent British or identify as British. I think that’s how a lot of immigrants feel..and [I] guess it creates a sense of disquiet, which was one of the feelings I was writing about.
In addition to new music, GAIKA will also be unveiling an art installation project he has been working on in conjunction with Boiler Room at Somerset House on August 1. Titled "SYSTEM," the project will be a sculptural and video installation that will celebrate sound systems, and London's annual Notting Hill Carnival as technical heritages of black culture. Read GAIKA's full interview with Highsnobiety here.